Wyoming Native Melissa Ross Will Promote the Chamber’s Efforts

LARAMIE -- The Laramie Chamber Business Alliance welcomes Melissa Ross as the new Marketing and Membership Director – new to the role, but not new to the Laramie community.

Melissa Ross

Ross is a Wyoming native, growing up in Campbell County and receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Art from the University of Wyoming in 2008.

Over the last 11 years, Ross has spent most of her career in marketing with both start-up companies and growing businesses in Boston and Phoenix before returning to Laramie in April 2018. She also has a diverse entrepreneurial background.

An avid bicyclist, Ross met her husband, Aaron, while on the University of Wyoming Cycling Team.

“Then I raced professionally in Europe and the U.S. for about eight years. Most of that time, I was also working full time. That’s how women’s sports are!” said Ross.

“When we came back to Laramie, we didn’t know if it would be permanent, being in a transition phase with our company. But we had forgotten just how much we liked it here. And with two kids, it really changed our perspective. We’re close to family, and we really like the community. We see it as a place we want to stay in and raise our kids.”

Ross wanted to get back into marketing, saw the opening for the LCBA position in February, and felt it would be a perfect fit for her.

“I was in marketing for 10 years, and in this position, I work with businesses. I have owned my own businesses, and I understand the pitfalls – from getting access to capital, to dealing with employees and partners, to working through growing pains – all that. Also, getting involved in the community is exciting,” Ross said.

“Being gone for 10 years, every time I came back to Laramie to see our family, I always felt like this is actually home. It felt like home. Everywhere I lived, it was ‘a’ home, but it didn’t ‘feel’ like home. Laramie has always felt like home to me. To come back felt really good.”

Ross plans on using her years of business experiences in her role as marketing and membership director with LCBA.

“I have learned how to use a lot of online resources to streamline my activities, to follow up in my communications and being more consistent with correspondence, making sure no one is falling through the cracks. With the Chamber Alliance, it’s a big organization. There are a lot of members to keep track of; to make sure they all understand the benefits of being a chamber member and knowing what’s going on. It’s important to have all that streamlined. I want our members to get the most out of their membership and to understand how to use the tools available to them.”

Ross said one of the tools she wants members to know and understand are the resources available through the LCBA.

“Especially when needing capital. We have a lot of resources that we can offer businesses. If you’re any type of company, having access to capital is really important. Depending on where you are, and even the state of the economy, it can be hard to obtain certain kinds of funding. Having options that the LCBA has to offer can certainly help make the search easier.”

The business networking aspect of LCBA membership is another important tool Ross feels is often overlooked by prospective members.

“Especially in a tight-knit community like Laramie. Being involved with a group where everybody supports each other is beneficial to every business.”

Just like a business that always tries to attract more customers, Ross is ready for the challenge of attracting more businesses to Laramie - the types of businesses that will be well-suited to Laramie and its workforce and customer base.

“We are starting to focus on certain areas we want to attract. We also want to help make it easier for people moving here to have access to good housing. We are working with a lot of different groups in town to help with that.”

Cirrus Sky Technology Park is an important part of that goal.

“Being a technology park, it will attract tech-based businesses. It has the source of power there that you can’t get at most other sites. You could have huge servers, and the power to run them.”

Ross said the LCBA is seeking all types of business, from manufacturing companies with 200+ employees to smaller, independent businesses with 1 to 10 employees in retail or skilled labor, such as tool and die shops.

“We work to have properties and land available for just about anything. But my role is more directed to growing our membership and promoting our community to both new business prospects and to established Laramie businesses. When new companies come in, we’re here to help them get their foot in the door and get established.”

The Laramie Chamber Business Alliance also hosts “Business After Hours” events at members businesses, and conducts ribbon-cutting ceremonies to welcome new and expanding businesses. On April 17, the LCBA is hosting a Member Orientation at the Wyoming Technology Business Center.

“The orientation and noon luncheon will be good for new business people interested in joining, to get them up to speed on all of the benefits of being involved with the chamber. It’s also good for existing members to not only network but to learn more about how to use their membership to their benefit.

“This is going to be a fun and exciting year. We have some new things happening here at the chamber, and some projects we’re working with the community to move forward. Laramie will be an even better, more exciting home for everybody.”

Ross lives in Laramie with her husband and two daughters, Saoirse and Aoife, 2-1/2 and 5 months old respectively.

Email Ross at mross@laramie.org or call 307-745-7339 with questions about joining the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance and helping to promote the vision and efforts of the LCBA. The office is located at 800 S. 3rd St. in Laramie.